The Flaming Lips drummer of 12 years, Kliph Scurlock, was allegedly fired in mid-March over a racially charged controversy. Multiple sources report that Scurlock was fired after criticizing a friend of Wayne Coyne’s for what he believed was racist behavior.
Christina Fallin, the singer of the band Pink Pony and the daughter of Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, posted a picture of herself on Instagram wearing a faux Native American headdress on March 6. Coyne, a friend of Fallin, supported her despite the public outcry against what some believed was racial and cultural insensitivity. According to Gawker, Scurlock left a heated comment of disapproval on her picture.
Making the situation more controversial, Coyne later posted a photo that included a dog wearing a headdress with the caption “did our best @christinafallin pose.” The Flaming Lips played a show on March 22 without Scurlock.
Though the band has not released an official reason for the drummer’s departure, Scurlock has confirmed the events to multiple sources.
“I was fired for telling Christina to go f*** herself after her lame-ass ‘apology’ when people got upset at her stupid headdress photo,” Scurlock wrote in a statement to Indian Country Today Media Network. “That happened in mid-March.”
Scurlock said in a lengthy email to Pitchfork sent May 2 that he received a text from Coyne asking about the drumer’s Instagram comments on Fallin’s photo. After explaining, he said he received these texts, verbatim, from Coyne in response: “You lost your mind dude…. that is some petty, sad, hater bulls***. You love to talk s***…. Like a punk coward… ” Scurlock received a text from Coyne on March 20 telling him he was fired, after some name-calling, including being called a “nazi punk coward Internet bully.”
Fallin’s situation got even more attention when a Pink Pony show (at Norman Music Festival in Oklahoma on April 26) was protested by the activist group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, according to ICTMN. Instead of trying to be diplomatic with the protesters, Fallin, her boyfriend and even Coyne taunted them. Fallin mocked them further by performing a fake war dance, while her boyfriend flipped them off, according to Gawker.
“I lived and breathed that band. I put up with endless verbal (with threats of physical) abuse from Wayne because I absolutely loved the music we were making and playing (and also because I love Steven, Michael and Derek.) I turned a blind eye when he pulled several of his (what I consider to be) tasteless publicity stunts,” Scurlock said in his email.
The Norman Music Festival, her band and Oklahoma’s governor issued public apologies for the war dance incident. In his email, Scurlock said he experienced “one of the darkest times in (his) life” with his being fired, but is trying to stay optimistic and has many plans for what he’s going to do next.
James Garcia is a community reporter at the Loveland Reporter-Herald and a new blogger at Reverb. Follow him on Twitter @JamesGarciaRH.